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Wondering how to spend a weekend in Rome? It is one of those cities that everyone needs to visit at least once.
Sometimes referred to as the City of Seven Hills because it was built on or between seven hills, Rome is central to the Catholic faith and has long been regarded as the cradle of Western civilization.
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It is home to some of the world’s most famous historic architecture and has a strong cultural identity centered on family life, good food, and the arts.
If you are visiting for the first time you may be wondering about the best way to spend two days in Rome and which attractions to include!
We’ve put together this guide to make planning your visit a lot easier! Read on to discover just what to do in Rome in 2 days and a few of the best places in which to stay.
On the first day of your weekend in Rome, you will be visiting some of its most famous buildings and monuments, then spending time in two of its most exciting neighborhoods.
What better way to kick off your 2 days in Rome than with a visit to Italy’s most famous monument – the Colosseum?
Constructed around AD 70 it is awesome in scale and the largest amphitheater ever built, capable of holding more than 50,000 spectators. The exterior is impressive enough and you can view it without a ticket, but the inside is simply fascinating!
Walking in the footsteps of Roman citizens from centuries ago, you can see four different levels of seating reminiscent of modern theaters, with the cheaps seats set furthest away from the floor of the arena.
You will also see the hypogeum, where the gladiators once waited to battle each other or animals like tigers and bears.
Beside the Colesseum is the Roman Forum, your next stop.
Daily life in Rome once centered around this area and you can now stroll around the ruined avenues and buildings, imagining just how it must have looked when the Roman Empire was at its strongest.
People would have come here to trade goods, watch battles between gladiators, and see criminals on trial. It’s remarkable to think that this entire area eventually became buried under the earth after the Roman Empire fell and was only excavated in 1898.
Your ticket to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum will also give you access to Palatine Hill, where you’re headed next.
Towering over the Forum, this is the most famous of Rome’s seven hills. Not only does it give you unmatched views over the city’s historic sites, but it is also home to many fascinating buildings, monuments, and relics.
These include the homes of ordinary Roman citizens, the palaces of emperors, temples, and warehouses. You can also visit a museum filled with artifacts, some of which date back to the Stone Age.
As the morning draws to an end, make your way to the nearby La Nuova Piazzetta restaurant. Tucked away on a quiet side street, it offers excellent, authentic pizza and a range of traditional Roman snacks.
After lunch, a pleasant 30-minute stroll via Viale di Trastevere and across the Tiber will take you to the enchanting district of Trastevere.
This old working-class neighborhood is popular for its winding, narrow alleys and medieval houses, along with a distinctly bohemian atmosphere.
The Basilica here is quite beautiful and the oldest Marian church in Rome, containing lots of authentic mosaics.
Also worth seeing is the 9th-century Church of Santa Cecilia, featuring a gothic tabernacle by Arnolfo di Cambio, a magnificent crypt, and a twelfth-century bell tower.
To really get a feel for the ambiance of the region, stroll around the Piazzi di Santa Maria. This is the heart of the district where locals come to meet and has a lovely fountain at the center.
Sit at one of the artsy bars within, enjoy a craft beer, and indulge in a spot of people-watching.
Before leaving Trastevere, be sure to take the easy walk up Janiculum Hill to the west of the district and take in the fabulous views from the top!
Your next stop is the very authentic region of Testaccio, just on the other side of the Ponte Sublicio.
Not too touristy during the day, it’s a good place to see what daily life in Rome is all about for those that live there.
Its glass-roofed market is one of the oldest in Rome and some of the family-run stalls go back for generations.
It’s a riot of color and there is seating in the middle, so you can stop for a snack and try one of the local specialties.
You have a couple of options for your first evening in Rome.
You could choose to stay in Testaccio, which is completely transformed when the sun goes down and begins to fill with tourists, drawn by its after-dark reputation as a party district! It has some great restaurants, too.
For a slightly more romantic vibe, head to the Colosseum and stroll along the Via Dei Fori Imperiali, lined with various street entertainers.
Then take the 15-minute walk to the iconic Trevi Fountain. It looks absolutely beautiful when it is illuminated at night, with its stunning blue water contrasted against the white stone.
Legend has it that tossing a coin into the water ensures your future return to Rome – but you need to use your right hand and throw it over your left shoulder.
It’s good to know that all these coins are regularly collected, resulting in a donation of almost 1 million euros to local charities every year.
On the second of your two days in Rome you will be visiting more of the city’s historic sites and the incredible Vatican Museums.
Start your day by heading to Vatican City and its public museums. Here you’ll find the largest and most important art collection in the world.
The museums are vast and very busy, so if you’re seeing Rome in 2 days we strongly recommended booking a guided tour.
This will ensure you see all the most important parts, including Raphael’s ‘Transfiguration’ and the Sistine Chapel, which took Michelangelo four years to paint.
Next, make your way to St Peter’s Square and visit the Renaissance-style Basilica – the largest church on earth.
It is free to enter and absolutely stunning, filled with incredible artworks like the famous Pietà – Michelangelo’s depiction of the Virgin Mary supporting the body of Christ.
You will need to pay a small fee if you want to climb the dome. There are a lot of steps (551!), although you can take an elevator to the terrace, which leaves you with a mere 320!
It’s pretty narrow on the way up, but the views are well worth the climb if you’re up to it!
Next, take the 10-minute walk to the fortress of Castel Sant’Angelo, your next stop. Despite its name, it wasn’t built to be a castle.
Instead, it was commissioned in AD 139 by Emperor Hadrian to be used as a mausoleum for himself. Later it was connected via a corridor to Vatican City so that the Pope could escape there if his life was threatened.
Today you can see the rooms in which he stayed, along with a collection of weapons and well-preserved Renaissance frescoes.
After your visit, take a walk across the Ponte Sant’Angelo towards Campo de’ Fiori.
Campo de’ Fiori is a beautiful, busy market square where you can stop for lunch.
There are plenty of delicious options, from pasta carbonara at La Carbonara to baked treats at Forno Campo de’ Fiori, the city’s oldest and most popular bakery.
Strolling around the square – admiring the wonderful cured meats and colorful fresh produce – is lots of fun.
There are also many stalls selling cool souvenirs to take home, although these can be a little pricey and are probably cheaper to buy elsewhere.
Be sure to check out the ancient streets leading away from the piazza – they are all named after trades that used to take place there.
The Via Dei Cappellari is named after the area’s milliners, for example, while the Via Dei Chiavari honors the city’s key makers. There are lots of independent shops and galleries to enjoy along these streets.
Finally, head to the Pantheon – one of Rome’s most well-preserved ancient structures. Originally a temple dedicated to pagan Gods completed between 126 – 128 AD, the building was later converted to a Christian church and now holds regular Catholic services.
The interior architecture is spectacular and not to be missed, particularly the oculus – a hole in the center of the dome that opens up to the sky.
For your final evening in Rome, visit the Piazza del Popolo and climb the steps to Terrazza del Pincio. This is one of the best places in Rome to watch the sun go down as you listen to the live musicians who perform there daily.
There are lots of lovely restaurants and bars nearby to enjoy an aperitivo (pre-meal drink) or dinner.
After you’ve eaten, stroll to the Spanish Steps, less than 10 minutes away. These feature 135 marble stairs connecting the Trinita dei Monti church with Piazza di Spagna square below.
The fountain at the base is illuminated at night and looks quite delightful.
Are 2 Days In Rome Enough?
Rome is so packed with interesting sights and experiences that you could spend a week in the city and still not see all that it has to offer.
But this itinerary for 2 days in Rome takes in the very best of the attractions and gives you a good overview of the city’s history and culture.
Where To Stay In Rome
Here are some of our favorite places to stay in Rome, with a suggestion to suit every budget!
Best Budget Accommodation
The Hotel Wesley features simple rooms – some with well-equipped kitchenettes – and is within easy walking distance of many of Rome’s main attractions.
Best Mid-Range Accommodation
Just a 15-minute walk from the Colosseum, the Hotel Amalfi features comfortable rooms with frescoed ceilings and offers a range of sweet and savory breakfast options.
Best Luxury Accommodation
To make your weekend in Rome even more special, book a stay at the splendid Hotel Martis Palace in the Navona district.
The rooms are beautifully appointed, and the hotel offers a library, restaurant, and bar.
Final Thoughts On Two Days In Rome
We hope this itinerary for seeing the best of Rome in 2 days has helped you plan your visit and that you enjoy every moment of your stay in the Eternal City.
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